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Robin Kish, Smyrna

I jump for YOU! I am a PE teacher in Georgia and the school coordinator for Jump Rope for Heart, an American Heart Association school program. What started as a fun way to get my students engaged and moving, has now turned into the the heart of our school. My school has been a Jump Rope for Heart school for many years.

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I wanted to bring a program that was fun, rewarding and actually had value, to our school. Being my first year, I tested every avenue of fundraising and worked to really connect with my students and the cause. Our small school of 110 students that year rose to the challenge. They raised over $12, 000, nickel and dollar at a time. I encouraged our school to get behind this cause and for the students to take ownership in  their own lives and they all loved how good it felt to help someone in need. This set the tone for the next few years. We have been moving with great momentum, enthusiasm and passion for this program ever since.  Every year, as our school grows, so does the passion and love for Jump Rope for Heart. Our motto was "Even smalls schools can make a big difference. With this continued growth and momentum, we were able to raise over $67,000 last year with our 300 students. " Now we are simply known as the "Little School that Could, and DID". 

Birthed out of all this fun and excitement was our St. Benedict's Jump Rope Demo Team. We are sponsored by the American Heart Association and travel all around promoting healthy hearts. Our free to school programs allow our students to be Heart Ambassadors and take ownership of educating and helping others. Kids sharing, helping and teaching one another! This year we kick off our 3rd year as a team and are excited to be traveling and performing all over Georgia. Maybe you have seen us at the Hawks Pre-game show? Perhaps you caught us at the GA Aquarium for the Atlanta's Healthiest Business Awards, or maybe Atlanta Heart Walk the last few years? Either way, my students work very hard to not only entertain, but also educate others and can be spotted all around town. 

Two summers ago, our team experience heart disease first hand. I had a phone call that one of my coaches had to rush to the ER with her dad. He was having a heart attack. Within the same time frame, I hear that one of my students is very distraught over the fact her grandfather is now in the ER due to emergency heart complications. One week later, I receive the call that my own mother is having pains and in the hospital. Sure enough, that night she suffered a heart attack. In one month, our lives were changed. I am pleased to report that all 3 are fully recovered and were honored at our Jump Rope for Heart event last year! We now, jump for them! 

This has given new meaning to our mission. We now jump for YOU, we now jump for OUR FAMILIES, we now jump for LIFE. To see an AHA sponsored documentary of our school and our Jump Rope for Heart Event, please click here. It may just get you up and JUMPING! 

(Originally published in 2014)

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